Thousands of devotees Wednesday offered Khawaja Diggar at the shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Syed Bha-u-Deen Naqshband Sahab (RA). Every year, this ritual is observed on 3rd of Rabbi-ul-Awwal of Islamic calendar at the shrine.
The gathering was so thick that prayer rows lined for around one kilometer outside the shrine.
Besides, Muslim Wakf Board which manages the shrine, the civil administration and the police had made arrangements for the devotees.
The shrine was decorated and the local markets were decked up with shops offering special discount for the day. "All arrangements were put on place for the devotees. Around 25,000 people participated in Khawaja Diggar," said Tariq Kutoo, administrator of the shrine.
He said that soon after "Khawaja Diggar", a brief "Khatmat-ul-Mozumaat" was held. "In view of COVID19 safety guidelines, the event was cut short and devotees were constantly reminded and requested to follow safety guidelines," he said.
A devotee praised Naqshband Sahab (RA) for "showing people of Kashmir a path to righteousness".
"There is a considerable devotion associated with Naqshband Sahab (RA), which attracts us to pay our obeisance at shrine. I have never missed this occasion to be part of Khawaja Diggar," said Muhammad Hanief.
He said his other family members also participated.
A religious scholar said that the congregational prayer (Khawaja Diggar) at the 'Asr' has its own significance as the Khawaja Naqshband Sahab (RA) left for the heavenly abode on 3rd Rabbi-ul-Awwal.
Wakf Board Secretary Showkat Beigh said that the event went on smoothly. "We thank devotees, civil and police administration for their cooperation," he said.
He informed that the holy relic of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was brought to Kashmir in 1699 and was first kept at Naqshband Sahab (RA) shrine.
"There was not enough space to accommodate the crowds who thronged to have glimpse of the holy relic. So the then Mughal governor in Kashmir 'donated' what was then called Sadiq Khan Bagh. Later this place became Hazratbal Shrine that has since been housing the holy relic," he informed.